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burvis
04-11-2017, 01:46 PM
Tried an older technique... set up a long vertical tube object in modeler...make a chain of skelegons in the shape you want the object to follow...create a morph target by just moving the object say down in the Y...then in LW you create the morph over time with the bone feature 'use morph positions' and the object will follow the bone chain! I can no longer recreate this trick, which good for tying laces, or a rope tying a knot.

The weird thing is I can load my old scenes with this technique employed, and its working fine, but when I try to re-create it the object just moves linearly down the Y and wont folloe the bone chain??

Anyone have an answer to this? I've tried to check all possibilities to re-create but cant come up with it. Am an experienced LW guy since V.3? in the Toaster days... but man I'm stumpped, and this was a useful trick which i need now.

Thanks for any help

Chris

Greenlaw
04-11-2017, 02:26 PM
It works here in 2015.3. Did you rest the bones for the object? Also, you'll want to do that before you bend the bone chain.

FYI, these days I generally find it easier to use Spline Control with bones for this sort of thing. DP Spline Deform is a really good alternative for this type of deformation too. I used both of these techniques for the tentacle creatatures and lampreys in the reel linked below, both in LW 11.6 and 2015.

burvis
04-11-2017, 03:34 PM
It works here in 2015.3. Did you rest the bones for the object? Also, you'll want to do that before you bend the bone chain.

FYI, these days I generally find it easier to use Spline Control with bones for this sort of thing. DP Spline Deform is a really good alternative for this type of deformation too. I used both of these techniques for the tentacle creatatures and lampreys in the reel linked below, both in LW 11.6 and 2015.



The bone chain was made in modeler..and then just 'convert' skelegons in layout no? When that happens they are in their rest positions right? I just un-rested and re-rested all positions and no morphing? thanks for responding btw... your stuff looks great!

burvis
04-11-2017, 03:45 PM
http://burningvisions.com/client/Samples/

morf test.lws and z.lwo to see what I'm talking about

lertola2
04-11-2017, 06:26 PM
To get it to work you have to have all the bones rest rotation set to zero so the rest position of the bones is in a straight line and lines up with your object. Here is a part of a tutorial I created years ago that shows how to rest your bones in a straight line so that the object will follow the bones: http://www.joelertola.com/tutorials/knot/knot_4.html

Greenlaw
04-11-2017, 06:48 PM
Took a look and fixed it. Here ya go.

136521

As mentioned above, you need to straighten the bone chain first, rest, and then you can bend it.

I left the straightened pose in frame zero to illustrate and moved the posed keyframes to frame 1. You can pose it at frame zero now if you like--it doesn't matter since it's been properly rested. Normally, I would leave it like this though.

In case you don't know, use ctrl-R to unrest, and R to rest again.

Hope this helps.

Oh, and thanks for the nice comment about the reel. :)

Greenlaw
04-11-2017, 07:53 PM
BTW, with the two more modern methods I mentioned--Spline Control and DP Spline Deformer--you will have a bit more control over the shape, animation and smoothness of the deformation.

DP Spline works without bones and Spline Control needs a bone chain if you want to use it as a deformer. To pose and animate either, you use nulls as control points, which is significantly easier than posing a long bone chain by itself. The knots behave a little differently in each method, with DP Spline offering 'handles' to control the tension. Spline Control has some useful options/controls in the Motion Panel.

I recommend either one. They have different strengths and weaknesses and, for me, the one I choose depends on what I'm trying to animate. Spline Control comes with LightWave and DP Spline Deformer is a part of the excellent DP Kit suite of plugins.

The old morph through bones trick is still useful though. I did use it for something recently although I'm not sure what that was right now. :p

burvis
04-12-2017, 06:43 AM
BTW, with the two more modern methods I mentioned--Spline Control and DP Spline Deformer--you will have a bit more control over the shape, animation and smoothness of the deformation.

DP Spline works without bones and Spline Control needs a bone chain if you want to use it as a deformer. To pose and animate either, you use nulls as control points, which is significantly easier than posing a long bone chain by itself. The knots behave a little differently in each method, with DP Spline offering 'handles' to control the tension. Spline Control has some useful options/controls in the Motion Panel.

I recommend either one. They have different strengths and weaknesses and, for me, the one I choose depends on what I'm trying to animate. Spline Control comes with LightWave and DP Spline Deformer is a part of the excellent DP Kit suite of plugins.

The old morph through bones trick is still useful though. I did use it for something recently although I'm not sure what that was right now. :p

I'll have to check that out...spline control is done in layout? Also, I see how you did the morph through bone chain by zero-out resting frame... but I remember setting up the bone shape in modeler and just doing the morph back in layout. attached is part of an old scene that like I said, is working but I could not re-create. I loaded same object into same scene and could not duplicate the follow bone chain... the original is working, and the 0 frame for its bone chain is already shaped as they were positioned in modeler?136524

and the 'light bulb goes on' I was setting the rotation in layout and keying at zero... when it's the rest position button in the bone panel... except for bone 1 in the chain, which when zeroed made the morph object go weirdly... thanks so much for helping my remember this 'real important step'!!

Greenlaw
04-12-2017, 09:38 AM
Glad you got that sorted out. :)

Yes, Spline Control was introduced in LightWave 11.6, I think, and it's pretty awesome. I primarily use it to create paths for moving objects like cameras, spaceships, sharks, etc. It's much easier and far more accurate than keyframing the objects directly, plus you have full control over the speed of the object. Attach bones to the spline and you can deform the bone chain with the spline, and then deform the object while moving through the spline or use the spline to deform the object (i.e, like a snake or tentacle.) It's incredibly versatile. LW3DG posted several videos showing how it works and there are many good examples in the content directory.

The only issues I've had with it is that sometimes I may see a slight 'wobble' at a node that's harder to hammer out than it should be, and tight corners can be a little tricky to set up. But most of the time, it works perfectly!

The workflow is this:

1. Make a null and, for clarity, call it 'Master Null' or something like that.
2. Now make a bunch of child nulls and line them up.
3. Select the object that will follow the spline and open the Motion Panel.
4. Select the Master Null for Spline Control. A spline path will appear that follows the child null positions.

Depending on the view settings you have enabled, you should see a flat 'tape' representing the path and its orientation. You can automatically align the nodes in different axis using some of the options in the Motion Panel, and move the nulls around in 3D to shape your path. To move the object along the path, keyframe it's z-position. Unlike with direct keyframing, which can give you different speeds from keyframe to keyframe, Spline Control lets you adjut velocity along the whole path using a single enveloper, resulting in much smoother motion.

Now, to use it as a deformer, instead of setting the object to use Spline Control master null, you put a straight bone chain inside the object and set each bone to use Spline Control null. What will happen is that each bone will now follow the path, deforming the object as it as it appears to follow the shape of the path. To animate it through the path like 'morph through bones', you want to move the root bone instead of the object itself.

The above might sound like a lot of steps, but it's really pretty simple in practice, plus you gain a lot more, um, flexibiity in the process. The shark scene that comes with the LW 2015 content is a good basic example of how this system works.

DP Spline Deformer is limited to deforming objects through a spline or with the spline, and it's not used a a motion path like Spline Control, but it doesn't need bones and in some situations the knots are easier to animate. I would try both to see what works best for you.

Hope this helps.

P.S., I got a very useful Spline Control tip from another user in these forums recently. If you need to insert a new node or rearrage the order, you can do so in the Scene Editor by switching to ID Sequence mode. Then you just drag the Spline Control items in the sequence you want. This is especially helpful when you want to insert a node after you've carefully laid out your path.

burvis
04-13-2017, 06:39 AM
Glad you got that sorted out. :)

Yes, Spline Control was introduced in LightWave 11.6, I think, and it's pretty awesome. I primarily use it to create paths for moving objects like cameras, spaceships, sharks, etc. It's much easier and far more accurate than keyframing the objects directly, plus you have full control over the speed of the object. Attach bones to the spline and you can deform the bone chain with the spline, and then deform the object while moving through the spline or use the spline to deform the object (i.e, like a snake or tentacle.) It's incredibly versatile. LW3DG posted several videos showing how it works and there are many good examples in the content directory.

The only issues I've had with it is that sometimes I may see a slight 'wobble' at a node that's harder to hammer out than it should be, and tight corners can be a little tricky to set up. But most of the time, it works perfectly!

The workflow is this:

1. Make a null and, for clarity, call it 'Master Null' or something like that.
2. Now make a bunch of child nulls and line them up.
3. Select the object that will follow the spline and open the Motion Panel.
4. Select the Master Null for Spline Control. A spline path will appear that follows the child null positions.

Depending on the view settings you have enabled, you should see a flat 'tape' representing the path and its orientation. You can automatically align the nodes in different axis using some of the options in the Motion Panel, and move the nulls around in 3D to shape your path. To move the object along the path, keyframe it's z-position. Unlike with direct keyframing, which can give you different speeds from keyframe to keyframe, Spline Control lets you adjut velocity along the whole path using a single enveloper, resulting in much smoother motion.

Now, to use it as a deformer, instead of setting the object to use Spline Control master null, you put a straight bone chain inside the object and set each bone to use Spline Control null. What will happen is that each bone will now follow the path, deforming the object as it as it appears to follow the shape of the path. To animate it through the path like 'morph through bones', you want to move the root bone instead of the object itself.

The above might sound like a lot of steps, but it's really pretty simple in practice, plus you gain a lot more, um, flexibiity in the process. The shark scene that comes with the LW 2015 content is a good basic example of how this system works.

DP Spline Deformer is limited to deforming objects through a spline or with the spline, and it's not used a a motion path like Spline Control, but it doesn't need bones and in some situations the knots are easier to animate. I would try both to see what works best for you.

Hope this helps.

P.S., I got a very useful Spline Control tip from another user in these forums recently. If you need to insert a new node or rearrage the order, you can do so in the Scene Editor by switching to ID Sequence mode. Then you just drag the Spline Control items in the sequence you want. This is especially helpful when you want to insert a node after you've carefully laid out your path.


Thanks so much for the 'ideas' and your time spent. Been a long time since coming here to forums. Also getting a little older (58) and new stuff is harder to grasp, but always best to keep the bag of tricks as current as possible. Actually I had given up on the morph bone thing and hand animated the scene a bone at a time. Some of what I am working on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua7PUUxFbJ8&list=PLT_hS1xPMx-0QKIZO-YxsYN7Abb2r9oM_&index=2 at around 1 minute in or so animation stuff happens. Thanks again!

Greenlaw
04-13-2017, 08:35 AM
Eww! Pretty neat though. Thanks for sharing that. :)

jeric_synergy
04-13-2017, 10:03 AM
#aflw, but: my experience w/SC has been that it works PERFECTLY, when a few simple steps are followed-- IIRC, it involves something like auto-tangenting the nulls to the spline-path, keyframing them in their auto-tangented rotation, and then turning off the auto-tangenting.

This prevents "node bobble". Unfortunately, #aflw I can't remember how to get the nodes to auto-tangent, since they (might) not have any motion of their own. I do recalll it's slightly anti-intuitive, but works.

(Still looking for examples of uses wherein the nodes are not nulls: they could be lights, bones, or even cameras.)

Really a great feature. :thumbsup:

Greenlaw
04-13-2017, 10:41 AM
Yes, you can use any object as nodes. Using bones as nodes, as mentioned above, is what allows you to use the spline as a deformer.

jeric_synergy
04-13-2017, 01:32 PM
:hed scratch: Wait, are you saying the bones are both the SC definitional nodes AND are being controlled by the SC feature?

I thought you'd have a chain of (usually) nulls that define the SC spline, and apply SC to the Bones' motion path -- ?? I mean, for the usual setup.

Greenlaw
04-13-2017, 01:44 PM
Wait...sorry, tried to respond too quickly and got confused myself. No, in my setups, the nulls are used to define the path, and then the bones are each assigned to the Spline. Not what I described in the previous post. Disregard that. Sorry for the misinformation. :p

That said, I think you can use any object as nodes. I haven't acually tried it though...guess I should check it out.

Greenlaw
04-13-2017, 02:05 PM
Nah, my bad. I guess you can't use bones as control nodes. Spline Controls seems to ignore them for that purpose. (Although, I'm not sure how useful that would be anyway.)

Greenlaw
04-13-2017, 02:08 PM
No, wait. It does work.

136534 136535

It didn't immediately but for some reason it suddenly decided to work. So I guess you can use any LightWave object as nodes.

Greenlaw
04-13-2017, 02:15 PM
Okay, I think I can see some possible uses for this, like maybe using an animated character rig as the spline path for something else. That seems weird but I can see the need somehow coming up.

jeric_synergy
04-13-2017, 06:05 PM
It didn't immediately but for some reason it suddenly decided to work. So I guess you can use any LightWave object as nodes.
Buddy, you gotta quit using "object": use "Item". ;)

Nulls, Objects, Bones, Lights, and Cameras can all be used as Spline Control definitive nodes.

The OTHER thing I've never seen an example of use with SC is: only the first level of hierarchical children is used in the definition of the spline, which means (I think) that a BRANCH of a hierarchy can exist, and will not interfere with the SC definition. So, if the first level were Bones and deforming a snake mesh, there could be secondary Bones (chains) sticking up at right angles, or whatever, that would be children of the SC controlled Bones. This might be useful on some sort of dinosaur neck/back frill. OR, if their Bone Strength were =0, they might be good for pulling some other mesh bits along.

Or maybe the first level bones were Strength=0, and the secondary bones were doing all the deforming.

That only the first level defines the motion seems like a very powerful feature...... if I could think of any application for it. But then, I hardly use LW and/or Bones at all nowadays.